Skip to main content

Full text of "Walking Tours of Lowell: Downtown"

See other formats


Walking 

Tours 

of 

LOWELL 



Downtown 


Central, 



LANDMARKS 


J. C. Ayer Building 
Bank Block (96) 

Bigelow Carpet Company (site) 

Bon Marche Building 
Boott Mfg. Co. (10) 

Boston 86 Lowell R.R. (site) (138) 

Cardinal O’Connell Parkway (97) 

Central Engine House (42) 

Linus Childs House (11) 

City Hall (4) 

City Market House (7) 

Father John’s Medicine Co. (121) 

First Congregational Church (Smith Baker) 

Hildreth Building 
Hosford Building (47) 

Ladd 86 Whitney Monument 
Lee Street Church (46) 

Locks 8& Canals Yard (92) 

Lowell Gas Light Company (41) 

Lowell High School (44) 

Massachusetts Mfg. Co. (51) 

Merrimack Canal Gatehouse (1) 

Merrimack House (site) 

Merrimack Mfg. Co. Agent’s House 
(Yorick Club) (2) 

Memorial Hall/City Library (4) 

Moody Street Feeder 
Nesmith Building (50) 

Nesmith New Block 
North Common Village (102) 

Old Town Hall (37) 

Old Worthen Tavern (5) 

Parker Gallery 

St. Anne’s Church (36) 

South Congregational Meeting House (49) 

Southwick Block 
Welles Block (43) 

Wentworth Block (39) 

Whistler House (6) 

Winged Victory Statue (3) 

Worthen St. Methodist Episcopal Church 
(Girl’s Club) (95) 

Wyman’s Exchange 

(—) refers to position of landmark on HISTORIC LOWELL 
map. 


The Downtown 
Walking Tour 


“The Red Tour ” 

Begin this tour at the Merrimack Gatehouse. 

The Merrimack Gatehouse (1) was constructed 
in 1848 and houses three sluice gates which regulate 
the flow of water, from the Moody Street Feeder, an 
underground canal, into the Merrimack Canal. The 
architectural style of this building is Romantic/Ro¬ 
manesque. Its design relied on curves and rounded 
edges instead of right angles. To soften the building’s 
appearance, it is richly detailed to cast shadows and 
reduce its mass. 

As you leave the Gatehouse turn right onto Mer¬ 
rimack Street and head towards City Hall. 

The building on your right is the Yorick Club (2), 
formerly a private men’s club and recently opened to 
women. It was originally built in the 1860’s and 
was housing for the Agent of the Merrimack Manu¬ 
facturing Company. 

To your right is the statue, Winged Victory (3). 
This monument commemorates the North’s victory 
in the Civil War. It was presented to the city by J. C. 
Ayer on July 4, 1867, because he felt America need¬ 
ed public art. It is a copy of the original he had seen 
while touring in Bavaria. 



Monument Square 1864 Lowell Historical Society 


The obelisk on your right is the Ladd & Whitney 
monument. Luther Ladd and Addison Whitney of 
Lowell, were the first to fall in defense of the Union. 
They were killed by a mob in Baltimore as their 
regiment made its way to defend Washington, D.C. 
Ladd was sixteen years old and Whitney was twenty- 
two at the time of their deaths. 






City Hall (4), ahead of you, was built in 1893. A 
national design competition was held to select the 
architects. Merrill and Cutler, a leading Lowell firm, 
was awarded the design contract. The architectural 
style is “Richardsonian Romanesque”, derived from 
the work of Henry Hobson Richardson, architect of 
Trinity Church in Boston. This style is noted for 
its massiveness and rustic quality. The architectural 
detailing is rich, and full round arches are used lib¬ 
erally. 

Memorial Hall/City Library (4), behind City Hall, 
was also built in 1893. Frederick Stickney, a local 
architect of national reputation, was awarded the con¬ 
tract after the competition. Memorial Hall, on the 
second floor, is distinguished by the murals depicting 
Civil War battles. The design of this building is an¬ 
other masterful interpretation of Richardsonian Ro¬ 
manesque. The pinkish granite for both buildings was 
quarried in New Hampshire. Notice the gargoyles 
and grotesque masques in the bands by the windows. 
Local tradition claims that they are members of the 
Building Commission. 

To your left, on the far corner of Merrimack Street 
and Cardinal O’Connell Parkway, is the First Congre¬ 
gational Church, now the Smith-Baker Center. The 
congregation was organized in 1824. Hopes that St. 
Anne’s Church would serve as a non-denominational 
meeting house were not realized and within twenty 
years after the city’s founding, the downtown area 
alone was occupied by at least sixteen different 
churches. This church was built in 1885 to replace 
an earlier one (1827). The style is High Victorian 
Gothic, identifiable by its pointed arches and multi¬ 
color bands. The architects were Merrill and Cutler, 
the same architects who designed City Hall. 



Old City Hall c. 1870 


Lowell Historical Society 













Turn left onto Cardinal O’Connell Parkway (97). 
In 1914 the city widened and rebuilt Maiden Lane 
and dedicated it to the memory of William Cardinal 
O’Connell, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, 
Statesman of the Roman Catholic Church, and a 
Lowell native. 

Cross Market Street and continue onto Dummer 
Street. 

This area, the traditional center of Lowell’s Greek 
community, was once alive with political intrigue 
of the Greek coffee houses and the daily affairs of 
one of Lowell’s most prominent ethnic groups. 

On your right is North Common Village (102). 
Constructed in 1940, it is the first public housing 
project in Massachusetts and is one of the oldest in 
the nation. Its construction caused great controversy 
because it destroyed the cohesiveness of the Greek 
community. The plan was influenced by the ideals of 
the garden city suburb movement. It is pedestrian 
oriented, has ample green space and room for small 
gardens. 

Turn left onto Broadway. 

On your right is the old Locks & Canals Yard 
(92). This complex of one and two story structures, 
built between 1845 and the 1880’s was the offices, 
library, and work-shops of the proprietors of Locks 
& Canals, the company that built and maintained 
the canals. It is one of the oldest corporations in 
America. In addition to the canals, this company also 
built the mills and boarding houses, dealt in real es¬ 
tate and planned, directly or indirectly, most of the 
city. 

The parking area and the building to your right was 
part of the site of the Lowell Machine Shop (1822). 
One of the largest machine shops in the world, it 
built equipment for the Lowell mills, engines for the 
railroads, and sent textile and industrial machinery 
around the globe. 

Turn left, at the school, onto Worthen Street. 

The double brick house on your right was built 
about 1830 in the Federal style, and is typical mid¬ 
dle class housing of that period. 

Further along, on your left, is the Whistler House 
(6). It was originally built in 1823 and was the 
home of Paul Moody, the Agent (General-Man¬ 
ager/Vice President) of the Lowell Machine Shops. 
It later served as the residence of the Chief Engineer 
of the Locks & Canals, the most distinguished being 
James Bicheno Francis. James McNeil Whistler, the 
celebrated American artist, was born here during the 
time that his father, George Washington Whistler, 
was Chief Engineer. Whistler however said, 

“I have read that I was born in Pomiret , 
Connecticut , in Boston and even in Lowell! 

... I have chosen Baltimore . . .” 


The house is now maintained by the Lowell Art 
Association and is open to the public (Tues.-Sun., 
2:00-4:30 P.M.). Its permanent collection contains 
some of Whistler’s sketches. 

To the rear of the Whistler House is the Parker 
Gallery. 

On your right is a double house (94). Built about 
1840, it is again typical of middle class housing of 
this period. The style is Greek Revival. During and 
after the Greek Revolution of 1821 there was great 
sympathy in America for the Greek cause. As a re¬ 
sult, styles and fashions of the time were modeled 
after classical Greek forms. The house was meant 
to recall a Greek temple. The ridge of the roof is 
perpendicular to the street so that the gabled end 
faces forward. This triangular section at the attic is 
meant to resemble the pediment of the temple. The 
space between the windows corresponds to what 
would be the columns. 

Next to this house is the Worthen Street Methodist 
Episcopal Church (95), now the Lowell Girls Club. 
It was built in 1842 when a dispute arose in the Wes¬ 
ley Chapel, another Methodist Church, over the 
choice of a pastor. Its style is also Greek Revival. 
Here, instead of implying classical columns in the 
rhythm of spaces between the windows, the design¬ 
er has placed pilasters (decorations that suggest col¬ 
umns) at the corners. 

Cross Market and continue on Worthen Street. 

On your left is the Old Worthen Tavern (5), one 
of Lowell’s most reknowned landmarks. The first 
floor was built in 1832 to house a West Indies Goods 
store. Such a store carried molasses and spices, and 
occasionally wines and champagnes. The upper por¬ 
tion was built about 1848 by carpenters who main¬ 
tained workrooms on the first floor. In 1888 John 
O’Donnell, a liquor dealer, remodeled the building 
and opened the “Worthen House”, a hotel and tav¬ 
ern. The site has remained a tavern except for a brief 
period during Prohibition when it was suspiciously 
vacant. The Worthen has always been a local favor¬ 
ite of people from all walks of life. Some of its more 
famous patrons have been Jack Kerouac, Alan Gins¬ 
berg, and Jimmy Breslin. The architectural style of 
the Old Worthen is Federal. 

Immediately beyond the Worthen, on the corner 
and facing Merrimack Street (Turcotte’s), is the 
Bank Block (96). Built about 1826, this is probably 
the oldest commercial building in Lowell. Its name is 
derived from Lowell’s first bank (The Lowell Bank), 
founded here in 1828. For a short while the Lowell 
Thespian Club performed in the upper floor. They 
were not successful and their scenery and stage 
equipment ended up in a nearby piggery. The ar¬ 
chitectural style is also Federal. The large cut in the 
third floor is a skylight in what was a nineteenth 
century photographers studio. 


Turn right onto Merrimack Street. 

The Merrimack Manufacturing Company, Low¬ 
ell’s first textile mill, built a hotel called the Merri¬ 
mack House, on the corner where the gas station is 
now located. When Andrew Jackson visited Lowell 
he stayed here and reviewed a parade of 2500 mill 
girls, dressed in white and carrying parasols. From 
a balcony over the entrance at the corner, he ex¬ 
claimed, “By the eternal, very pretty women.” Davy 
Crockett also stayed at the Merrimack House and 
said of his visit to Lowell, “I had heard so much of 
this place that I longed to see it.” Other visitors who 
stayed at the Merrimack House included Presidents 
Polk, Pierce, and Lincoln, and the Emperor Don 
Pedro of Brazil. 

Cross Dutton Street and continue down Merri¬ 
mack Street. 



First Railroad Depot c. 1836 Lowell Historical Society 


The site of the old YMCA straddles the Merri¬ 
mack Canal and occupies the site of the first depot of 
the Boston and Lowell Railroad (38). Opened to 
traffic in 1835, the Boston & Lowell R.R. was the 
first in New England and one of the earliest in the 
nation. The first engine was imported from England, 
dismantled in Boston and shipped to Lowell on the 
Middlesex Canal so that Lowell, and not Boston, 
would have the honor of launching the first railroad. 
This gave the mechanics at the Lowell Machine Shop 
an opportunity to study the engine so that the next 
locomotive could be produced locally. 

Charles Dickens traveled on the Boston & Lowell 
R.R. and in American Notes, he remarked of his trip: 

“There is a great deal of jolting, a great 
deal of noise, a great deal of wall, not much 
window, a locomotive engine, a shriek and 
a bell ... It is insufferably close and you 
see the hot air fluttering between yourself 
and any other object you may happen to 
look at, like the ghost of smoke ... The 
road is very narrow, and the view, where 
there is a deep cutting, by no means ex¬ 
tensive . . . mile after mile of stunted trees 
. . . now catch hasty glimpses of distant 
towns with its prim New England church 
and schoolhouse; when whir-r-r-r! Almost 












before you have seen them comes the same 
dark screen . . . On it whirls headlong, drives 
through the woods again, emerges in the 
tight, clatters over frail arches, rumbles 
upon the heavy ground, shoots beneath a 
wooden bridge which intercepts the light for 
a second like a wink . . . on, on, on — tears 
the mad dragon of an engine with its train 
of cars; scattering in all directions a show¬ 
er of burning sparks from its wood fire; 
screeching, hissing, yelling, panting: until 
at last the thirsty monster stops beneath a 
covered way to drink, the people cluster 
round, and you have time to breathe again .” 

In 1856 the city and Railroad combined resources 
and built a combination station and auditorium, 
known as Huntington Hall. Alexander Graham Bell 
exhibited the telephone there on April 25, 1877. 

Next to the YMCA is the Wentworth Block (39), 
built in 1844, by Tappan Wentworth, a leading Low¬ 
ell businessman. A public meeting place, Wentworth 
Hall occupied the upper floors. During Lowell’s first 
years, the only public entertainment was lectures 
and ecclesiastical and popular music recitals. The 
Lowell mill girls were avid subscribers to these lec¬ 
ture series and literary events. One frequent speaker, 
Professor A. P. Peabody of Harvard noted: 

“I used, every winter, to lecture for the 
Lowell Lyceum. Not amusement but in¬ 
struction was then the lecturers aim . . . 

The Lowell Hall was always crowded, and 
four fifths of the audience were factory 
girls. When the lecturer entered, almost 
every girl had a book in her hand and was 
intent upon it. When he rose, the book was 
laid aside, and paper and pencil taken in¬ 
stead; ... I have never seen anywhere so 
assiduous note taking . . . not even in a col¬ 
lege class . . .” 



Greek Coffeehouse 1914 Mr. & Mrs. C. Koumoutseas 


The early city was crowded with meeting places 
for these purposes. At one time a hoopskirt and cor 
set factory occupied the Wentworth Block. 

Turn right onto Shattuck Street. 

The building on your left, facing onto Merrimack 
Street is Old Town Hall, (1830-1893) (37). It was 
designed by Kirk Boott, the Agent of the Merrimack 
Mills. The basement and first floor housed shops 
as they do now. The second and third floor were oc¬ 
cupied by the “Hall” where such dignitaries as John 
Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln, 
and Henry Clay spoke. The style was originally Fed¬ 
eral. However, it was remodedel in the 1890’s in the 
Classical Revival style. 

Behind Town Hall, on your left, is the Lowell In¬ 
stitution tor Savings (40). This bank, organized in 
1829, was constructed in 1845. Although it has re¬ 
cently been seriously altered, some of its original 
Romantic Italianate character remains. 

Turn left onto Middle Street. 

The curved building on your right, at the corner 
of Middle and Shattuck Streets was the home of the 
Lowell Gas Light Company (41). The first telephone 
receiver and telephone exchange in the world was 
located here. It was built about 1860 and is an out- 



For Health and Lonq Life 
use: 

^ Ayer's Sarsaparilla. 

Ayer Advertisement Lowell Historical Society 




standing Romantic Romanesque style. The brick de¬ 
tailing at the roof is called a corbelled table, and 
the windows are topped by a graceful segmental arch 
ornament called an archivolte. 

The next large building, on your right, is the for¬ 
mer office and plant of the ]. C. Ayer Company. The 
Ayer Company was a leader in the patent medicine 
field and its Sarsaparilla was a universal remedy. It 
is justly famous for its Almanac which was published 
in English, French, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Span¬ 
ish, Portuguese, and Chinese and was distributed 
world-wide to advertise its products. 

One advertisement boasted of its Sarsaparilla: 

It cures because it purifies the blood; be¬ 
cause it destroys as well as expels from the 
human system the poisons which unless re¬ 
moved produce inflammation and disease; 
because it attacks and breaks up every 
humor in cell or tissue; because it restores 
exhausted vitality, quickens the appetite, 
and acts upon every vital function, strength¬ 
ening those which are weak, vitalizing those 
which are sluggish, and upbuilding those 
which have broken down; and also BE¬ 
CAUSE it makes food nourishing, work 
pleasant, sleep refreshing and life enjoy¬ 
able. AYER'S Sarsaparilla will cure you of 
Scrofula and Scrofulous Humors. It will 
cure Salt-Rheum, Eczema, Tetter, Psoriasis, 
Scald Head, Ringworm, Chronic Catarrh, 
White Swellings, Rheumatism, Gout, Neu¬ 
ralgia, Female Weaknesses, Diseases of the 
Stomach, Liver, Kidney and Bowels. After 
Diptheria, Scarlet or Typhoid Fever, after 
LaGrippe or any other ailment which 
poisons the blood and prevents rapid re¬ 
covery, take AYER'S Sarasparilla. You 
avoid mistake, make no experiment, and 
take no chances when you buy this medi¬ 
cine. It will do for you the same as it has 
done for others. Take AYER'S and only 
AYER'S. 

This building is a panel brick, commercial style 
from the 1880’s. Mr. Ayer was an eccentric and a 
philanthropist who later went insane, but not before 
he had invented the first machine for making pills. 

On your right, at the corner of Middle and Palmer 
Streets, is the old Central Engine House (42) of the 
Lowell Fire Department. It was built to replace 
the Middle Street Engine House which was de¬ 
stroyed by fire. Built in 1889, by the Lowell firm of 
Merrill & Cutler, the style as a striking example of 
Richardsonian Romanesque in brick. At the time of 
its construction it was the most modern and efficient 
fire-fighting facility in New England. 

Looking down Middle Street, note the Pollards 


Exchange building, on your left, and the one next to 
it on the corner of Palmer and Middle Streets. Both 
were built in 1891 and are the designwork of Fred¬ 
erick Stickney. Lowell Textile School, now the Uni¬ 
versity of Lowell, began in 1897 in two rooms of the 
Institute Building to your right, on Middle Street 
(A. G. Pollards Restaurant). 

Turn right onto Palmer Street, constructed at 
the same time as the engine house. 

The mills in front of you, across Market Street, 
were once the yard of the Bigelow Carpet Company 
(1825). Mr. Bigelow invented a power loom to weave 
carpeting, and brought it to Lowell with great suc¬ 
cess. With the aid of his loom nearly everyone now 
could afford carpeting. 

Turn left onto Market Street. 

Ahead, on your left, is the plant and offices of 
Father John's Medicine Company (121), another 
one of Lowell’s nineteenth century patent medicine 
manufacturers. Father John Mahoney, the first pas¬ 
tor of Lowell’s Irish-Catholic community, arrived in 
1822 from Virginia. He brought with him a recipe 
for a home remedy which he deposited at Carleton’s 
drugstore at Town Hall. Whenever one of his parish¬ 
ioners felt ill he instructed them to go down to the 
drugstore and ask for Father John’s medicine. 

Further along, on your right, is the old City Market 
House (7), built as a joint venture by the City 
and County in 1837. Shops and stalls were rented 
to grocers and tradesmen, while the second and 
third floor housed the police department and police 
court. It was not an immediate financial success. 
Shoppers preferred neighborhood stores and trades¬ 
men who delivered to their homes. The architectural 
style is primarily Federal with Greek Revival orna¬ 
mentation, expressed by pilasters at the corner. The 
courts were remodelled by architect, Fredrick Stick¬ 
ney, in the 1870’s. 

Continue down Market Street and turn left onto 
Central Street. 

NOTE: To your right, across the plaza, is the 
Southwick Block (1850’s), a fine example of Roman¬ 
tic Italianate architecture. 

This area of Central and Middle Streets was, for 
many years, Lowell’s newspaper row. One of the most 
famous Lowell papers produced here was the aboli¬ 
tionist Middlesex Standard. Edited by the poet John 
Greenleaf Whittier, its mottos were “Liberty for All” 
and “Slavery in all its forms is anti-democratic, the 
natural enemy of the working man”. 

Continue along Central Street to the corner of 
Merrimack Street. The building on the right, the 
Chalifoux Building (Brooks), is a Classical Revival 
style, built in 1906 to house a department store. 

The building on your left (Scott’s), at the corner 
of Merrimack and Central Streets is Wyman's Ex- 








change. This building was constructed in 1878 and is 
a successor to Captain Phineas Wyman’s structure 
of 1831. The original building was one of the most 
imposing structures in the early town. The first 
Lowell Museum was established in 1840 on the 
fourth floor. It featured wax figures, natural curiosi¬ 
ties, paintings of the Presidents, etc. 

The museum moved across the street to the former 
Freewill Baptist Church (site of Woolworth’s). When 
it was fitted with a stage for theatrical productions, 
the citizenry was enraged by this immoral idea and 
the City Council refused to grant a license. As a re¬ 
sult, they featured lectures. One local historian noted 
that, “Lola Montez, the discarded mistress of the late 
King of Bavaria, delivered her lecture on ‘Beautiful 
Women’ here”. 

Directly in front of you is the Hildreth Building. 
Built in the 1880’s on the site of the museum, its 
design is a mix of the popular styles of the day, in¬ 
cluding Colonial Revival, Gothic, and Queen Anne. 
Turn left onto Merrimack Street. The building next 
to Wyman’s Exchange, the Saab-Diplomat, is the ori¬ 
ginal South Congregational Meeting House (49). 
Built in 1832, its simple Greek Revival style and 
functional nature reflects the Puritanical roots of 
Congregationalism. The original meetinghouse was 
on the second and third floors; the first floor was, 
as it is now, rented for shops. NOTE: This building 
is very similar to the old Town Hall. 



John Street c. 1868 Lowell Historical Society 


Turn right onto John Street. The large curved 
structure on your right, on the corner of John and 
Merrimack Streets and the building next to it are 
known as the Nesmith Building (50) and Nesmith’s 
New Block. 

The corner building was constructed in 1833 by 
the Nesmith brothers, local real estate entrepreneurs 
who developed Belvidere and the neighboring city 
of Lawrence. At one time the building was almost 






totally occupied by music teachers. Bailey’s drug¬ 
store has occupied the building since 1840. The style, 
once again, is Federal. Although it has been altered 
and painted, much of its original charm remains and 
can be seen in its gracefully rounded facade. Other 
features, including the attic dormers, chimneys, shut¬ 
ters and triple hung windows on the second floor 
have been removed. 

The style of the Nesmith New Block is Romantic 
Italianate. It is a folk-copy of a Renaissance Palazzo. 
The original first floor facade had graceful brick 
masonry arches. 

Continue on John Street to the corner of French 
Street. 

The area directly in front of you, the parking lot, 
and the site of the old Trade High School was once 
totally occupied by rows of boarding houses for the 
Massachusetts (51) and Boott Mills (10). 

The Boot Mills were founded in 1835 (rebuilt in 
1863) as one of the last of the major Lowell textile 
corporations. They were named for Kirk Boott, the 
first Agent of the Merrimack Mills and the dictato¬ 
rial founding father of Lowell. The complex is consid¬ 
ered to be one of the finest examples of nineteenth- 
century industrial architecture. The original Federal 
style mills were enlarged in the 1860’s and connected 
to form the courtyard. The additions are in the Ro¬ 
mantic Romanesque style. The graceful bell tower 
and shuttle weather vane are a familiar landmark. 

Turn left onto French Street. Continue one block 
to Kirk Street and turn left. 

At the corner of Kirk and French Streets, is the 
Linus Childs House (11), built about 1838. One half 
was the residence of the Agent of the Massachusetts 
Mills; the Agent of the Boott Mills lived in the other 
half. In 1847 Abraham Lincoln visited Lowell and 
was the guest of Linus Childs, then Agent of the Boott 
Mills. The basic form of the house is in the Federal 
style. The ornamentation, however, is Greek Revival. 

The three houses on your left (45) were built in 
1841 by shopkeepers and small businessmen. The 
house at the corner of Paige Street was built by Abi- 
jah Watson, a book-seller, whose shop was in the cor¬ 
ner of the Nesmith building. 

Lowell High School (44), on your right, is one of 
the oldest public High Schools in Massachusetts. It 
was founded in 1831 and was the first co-educational 
High School in the Commonwealth. These buildings 
were constructed in 1893 and 1922. 

The Ahepa clubhouse, a Greek fraternal organiza¬ 
tion, on your left, was built in 1880 by the City of 
Lowell as the Kirk Street Primary School. The de¬ 
signer was George Abbott, a local architect. Its style 
is modified Queen Anne. 

Turn left onto Lee Street. 

The Lee Street Church (46) now, Saint Joseph 





the Worker Shrine is on your right. The gabled end 
was originally built in 1850 as a Universalist Church. 
In 1868, Father Garin, first pastor of Lowell’s Franco- 
American community, purchased it for the first 
French parish in the Archdiocese of Boston. St. Jo¬ 
seph’s parish maintains the church as a downtown 
shrine and as a center for community work. The ar¬ 
chitectural style is Romanesque, which in its day 
was called round arched Gothic. 

Turn right onto John Street, then right onto Mer¬ 
rimack Street. 

The large granite-faced structure on your left, 
across the street is the Hosford Building (47), built 
in 1871 by Hocum Hosford, a dry goods dealer. The 
Masons met on the third floor. Their banquet hall 
and the fourth floor have been removed. The city 
library was housed on the second floor for many 
years until it moved to Memorial Hall in 1893. Hos- 
ford’s Dry Goods Store later became A. G. Pollard’s 
Department Store. Mr. Hosford was noted for his 
sophisticated taste, as seen in this elegant Second Em¬ 
pire style building. 

The Bon Marche Building (1831) on your right 
is actually several structures. Most of it was built in 
the 1880’s to house the department store. This charm¬ 
ing Queen Anne design now houses Jordan Marsh. 

The Welles Block (Wood Abbott) (43) on your 
right, at the corner of Merrimack and Kirk Streets, 
was built in 1849 and is a distinguished Federal com¬ 
mercial building. It too had a meeting hall, called 
Welles Hall, on the upper floors. 

Saint Anne's Church (36) on your right was built 
in 1825 by the Merrimack Manufacturing Company 
and was intended as a non-denominational house of 
worship. Designed by Kirk Boott and named for his 
wife, Anne, its early Gothic style was meant to re¬ 
call a parish church in Derby, England. The church 
was supported by a monthly tithe of 37 V 2 # deducted 
from the worker’s salaries. Most of the mill opera¬ 
tives were non-conforming Protestants who rebelled 



Merrimack Street c. 1856 Lowell Historical Society 





St. Anne’s Church c. 1845 Lowell Historical Society 

and established their own churches. The Merrimack 
Company sold the church to the Episcopal congre¬ 
gation in 1844. 

The rectory was built in 1826. The style is Fed¬ 
eral although the heavy entrance porch is Greek Re¬ 
vival. Theodore Edson, the first Rector, defied Kirk 
Boott several times and was forced to move to an¬ 
other house. When the company sold the church, they 
did not sell the rectory but maintained it as the 
Agent’s house. Later, the company mellowed and sold 
it to the parish in 1866. 

Return to the Merrimack Canal Gatehouse. 













LOWELL 


This tour was made available through a grant 
from the Massachusetts Bicentennial Commission 
and an appropriation from the Hapood Wright Cen¬ 
tennial Fund by the Lowell Bicentennial/Sesquicen- 
tennial Commission. It was developed by Joseph R. 
Orfant, a graduate of Yale and former employee of 
the City Development Authority. He served as secre¬ 
tary of the Lowell Historical Commission and is 
presently employed as the National Register Editor 
for the Massachusetts Historical Commission. 


Advisory Committee 

Nancy L. Cassin Bicentennial/Sesquicentennial 

Commission 

Lewis T. Karabatsos Lowell Museum Corporation 
Robert Malavich City Development Authority 
Joseph F. Murray, Esq. 

Coordinator, Bicentennial/ 
Sesquicentennial Commission 

Anne Welcome ___ Human Service Corporation 


Special thanks to Marie K. Sweeney of Lowell 
High School for her comments on the final script.